California budget leaves some San Francisco school district workers still in limbo

The San Francisco Unified School District’s improved budget outlook is giving officials the opportunity to retain 110 laid-off employees, but it’s insufficient to employ 39 other certified workers who lost their jobs.

Fearing the worst, the school district prepared for a $27 million deficit earlier this year by issuing 300 teachers, aides and administrators their walking papers. But the governor’s revised May budget was kinder than expected to K-12 education.

Though it’s a start, district officials say it is not enough.

“They’re not increasing per pupil spending,” SFUSD Deputy Superintendent Myong Leigh said. “They’re not cutting, but we are still paying close attention to what happens with the state budget.”

This week, California Controller John Chiang concluded that the Legislature failed to adopt a balanced budget by the June 15 deadline. As a result, districts and agencies throughout California are now budgeting based on assumptions.

For the SFUSD, that means preparing for a $19.3 million budget deficit next fiscal year, which starts July 1.

On Tuesday, The City’s Board of Education discussed a proposed budget that included teacher, aide and administrator layoffs, along with cuts to transportation and summer school.

The teachers union agreed to furlough days and sabbatical reductions in contract negotiations last year.

The school board will vote on the $622 million budget Tuesday.

Some 149 certified employees received layoff notices in May. Through the healthier state outlook and the retirement of other teachers, 110 instructors were already recalled. The district employs more than 3,000 teachers.

Whenever an existing teacher retires, one laid-off teacher can be rehired. SFUSD spokeswoman Gentle Blythe could not say how many teaching positions are actually being eliminated.

The recalled teachers, district human resources administrator Roger Buschmann said, include 64 with multiple-subject credentials — three in Spanish, two in physical education and two music teachers. The number of teacher aides and administrators being reinstated has yet to be determined.

Social sciences is bearing the brunt of the layoffs. Out of seven teachers who received notices, none have been recalled.

Board members let out a collective sigh Tuesday when they heard seven out of seven teachers were not reinstated in social sciences.

“What could we get rid of in order to find money to fund other things?” Commissioner Sandra Lee Fewer said.

SFUSD Superintendent Carlos Garcia replied that excessive rehiring now could be dangerous in the future.

“If we put something back now for this budget, we may have to cut it next year,” Garcia said. “We’re going to approve a budget without knowing the state [budget]. If the budget gets worse, we may have to cut things again.”

Who has been rehired

Of 147 certified employees who received layoff notices in May, the 110 recalled so far include:

Laid off: 11     Recalled: 6

English teachers
Laid off: 11     Recalled: 8
Resigned: 2

Italian teachers

Laid off: 1    Recalled: 1

JROTC teachers
Laid off: 9    Recalled: 9

Laid off: 3    Recalled: 2

Multiple-subject teachers
Laid off: 74    Recalled: 69
Resigned: 3
2 others refused new placement

Music teachers
Laid off: 5    Recalled: 2


Laid off: 2    Recalled: 2

P.E. teachers
Laid off: 3    Recalled: 2

Social sciences teachers
Laid off: 7    Recalled: 0

Spanish teachers
Laid off: 3    Recalled: 3

Social workers
Laid off: 4    Recalled: 4

Source: San Francisco Unified School District

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